Ka Yang killed her two-month-old daughter, Mirabelle Thao-Lo, in her home in California in 2011, but it’s taken four years for the case to go to trial. Not surprisingly, jurors on the case came back Friday, after only one day of deliberating the evidence and witness testimonies.
They found Kang guilty. She faces 26 years to life in prison.
It was a strange trial, with the murder weapon — a microwave oven — positioned in front of the judge’s bench.
Sacramento County prosecutors said that Yang, a mother to three sons and her late daughter, 2-month-old Mirabelle Thao-Lo, was alone with her youngest child for 11 minutes on the day she died. Mirabelle was in the microwave for as long as five of those minutes, they said.
Pathologists said the child suffered burns covering more than 60 percent of her body, including radiation burns that penetrated her internal organs.
Jurors rejected the defense’s argument that Yang killed her child due to an epileptic episode. In fact, prosecutors insisted she did not have a seizure that day but continuously lied to investigators about the details of the murder. Detectives finally found a pacifier inside the kitchen’s microwave, which lead them to realize what Yang had done.
Yang told family members, first responders and detectives that she was holding her child while working on a computer when she lost consciousness. She said she awoke on the floor next to a space heater and that her daughter was hurt.
Family members and Yang’s defense counsel Linda Parisi blamed Yang’s epilepsy for her child’s horrific death.
At trial, Parisi argued Yang put her child in the microwave oven while in a post-seizure state of unconsciousness known as the “postictal state.” The postictal state is usually one of confusion, agitation and unresponsiveness.
“She didn’t know what she was doing,” said Lao Paochoua Thao, a family spokesman. She said that Yang was a “gentle, nice woman” who would not have intentionally harmed her child.
Thao told reporters that Yang’s three surviving sons are staying with family members.
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